And you thought the preliminary 0.2% Q1 GDP print from last month was bad. Moments ago, just as we warned, the BEA released its latest, first, revision of Q1 GDP (pre second-seasonal adjustments of course), and we just got confirmation that for the third time in the past four years, the US economy suffered a quarterly contraction, with the Q1 GDP revised drastically from a 0.2% growth to a drop of -0.7%: the worst print since snow struck, so very unexpectedly, last winter.
Like Houston, the financial system has been flooded with liquidity over recent years which has ultimately only had one place to flow - the financial markets. That excess liquidity has sent prices soaring to record highs despite weakting macro economic data. While many hope that the Central Banks can somehow figure out how to keeps the rivers of liquidity from overflowing their banks, history suggests that eventually bad things will happen. Of course, for investors, that translates into a significant and irreperable loss of capital.
The age of propaganda is now upon us; where perception trumps the truth, until that is, the house of cards burns and falls, which it always does. With such blatant data manipulation going on, why shouldn’t we question the extent of stated “glut” in oil? The longer perception is distorted to create a false reality, the worse things will get in the end. We saw this before in 1999/2000 with the internet bubble and in 2008/2009 with the housing bubble, and it will not end well. If producers are dumb enough to get roped in to turning the spigot on when oil does rise (just as they appear to have done this morning) then, once again, prices won’t hold.
€5 billion in deposits flowed out of the fragile Greek banking system in April, underscoring the urgency of discussions between Athens and creditors. Meanwhile, data out of Eurostat officially confirms that the country is back in a recession.
There are many things going on in the Greece vs Institutions+Germany negotiations, and many more on the fringe of the talks, with opinions being vented left and right, not least of all in the media, often driven more by a particular agenda than by facts or know-how. What most fail to acknowledge is to what extent the position of the creditor institutions is powered by economic religion...
Having recently cut its estimate of US trend productivity growth to 1.5%, in a shocking move earlier today, Goldman admitted US trend growth is far less than previously speculated and lowered its long-term potential GDP. The bank says: "after adjusting for a drag from government sector productivity and incorporating an updated assessment of trend labor force growth, we now see long-run potential GDP growth at 1¾%, half a percentage point below our prior estimate." This is a huge deal as Goldman just recalibrated every single economic (i.e., inflation, employment) and financial (i.e., bond rates, leverage) equation by more than 20%, not to mention the amount of implied residual slack in the economy. In short, an absolutely massive amount!
"...with each passing session the casino is getting more dangerous, but the lemmings have no clue and the narrative gets ever more specious."
It is unknowable how much more pronounced these excesses can become, especially in light of extremely loose monetary policy around the world. Things could easily become quite dicey as soon as tomorrow, but it is just as easily possible that valuations will continue to expand for some time yet. However, these data do indicate one thing: risk has increased enormously, and it will keep increasing the longer the bubble persists. Frankly, the situation also scares us a bit, because we expect that governments and their agencies (such as central banks) will find it extremely difficult to deal with the next crisis. They have become quite overstretched as a result of the last one. After having gone “all in” last time around, what are they supposed to do for an encore? The only options that come to mind are repressive measures such as capital controls, confiscation of private wealth, and a host of other unpleasantries.
As it stands now, U.S. healthcare will bankrupt the nation and doom it to permanent stagnation and recession. It's our choice: live with a bankrupt system built almost entirely of perverse incentives, or begin an adult discussion about a system that delivers responsible care to the elderly in line with other advanced nations, but at a fraction of the current cost.
"Today, six and a half years after the collapse of Lehman, there is a Bigger Short cooking. That Bigger Short is long-term claims on paper money, i.e., bonds."
What do we really know?
Markets are not cheap by any measure. If earnings growth continues to wane or interest rates rise, the bull market thesis will collapse as "expectations" collide with "reality." This is not a dire prediction of doom and gloom, nor is it a "bearish" forecast. It is just a function of how markets work over time. This time is "not different." The only difference will be what triggers the next valuation reversion when it occurs.
“Things always become obvious after the fact” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley
We got a glimpse of just what Yellen has in mind for the next 'monetary transmission mechanism' yesterday, when a mystery drone appeared above the Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, Michigan and literally rained down money on the people below, leading to what the Mail describes as a "cash-grabbing frenzy."
There’s only one question that matters today in markets: why is the government bond market going up and down like a yo-yo? How is it possible that the deepest and most important securities in the world are currently displaying all the trading stability of a biotech stock?